Life in the Intermountain Conference has been anything but sweet thus far for the HRV boys basketball team.
Four losses in five games — including a 64-45 defeat at the hands of Mountain View on Saturday — have put the Eagles’ playoff hopes very much in question.
But, if you ask the players, they’re not thinking about what might have been. They are looking ahead to the games they have left to prove that their 1-4 start is but a mirage.
“We don’t really look at the 1-4 record as a downer,” senior forward Todd Shypertt said. “Instead of worrying about it, we see the rest of the season ahead of us. It’s not over in our minds.”
HRV still has two games remaining against Hermiston, two versus Pendleton and one each against the rest of the league.
Of those, more than half are winnable games. The Eagles will entertain both Bend and Mountain View at home, and play Summit, Hermiston and Crook County on the road.
“We believe in ourselves,” said junior forward Jeremy Belcher. “We know we’ve got what it takes because we beat the No. 9 team in the state (Clackamas) earlier in the year. We’re still going to shoot for a winning record in the IMC.”
While that goal is attainable, the Eagles will have their work cut out for them.
After Tuesday’s game with Hermiston (results not available at press time), three of the Eagles’ four remaining home games are against the league’s top three teams. They face third-place Bend on Feb. 7, first-place Redmond on Feb. 8, and second-place Pendleton on Feb. 20, before finishing up with Mountain View on Feb. 21.
“There are still some winnable games in conference,” Shypertt said. “Mountain View shouldn’t have beaten us by so much. We just weren’t there that night for some reason.”
The Eagles couldn’t find an offensive rhythm in the first half, which made it nearly impossible for them to come back in the second. They were down 33-21 at halftime before a 19-10 Mountain View run in the third put the game away.
“We just seemed out of it all game,” Belcher said. “We let the refs get to us and didn’t step up when we needed to. One of our biggest weaknesses this season has been when other teams make a run, we don’t make a run back.”
Senior point guard Andy Holmson continued his offensive struggles in the IMC, scoring just five points. Tyler Monzie led the way with 10, while Sam Murillo had nine and Pete Dills five.
Hustle Player of the Week
Senior Todd Shypertt won this weekly award after recording six hustle points in the Eagles two games last week. This was his second award of the season.